27. Epilogue

My life turned out the way I expected. I had a son and two daughters. Alice and Jasper had two girls and Rose and Emmett had one son and one daughter. We all settled into a very mundane life in a large dangerous city.

I was carrying a load of folded clothes to put away and came around the corner to find my son with his ear against the music room door. I knew he hated to hear Aro being so strict with his father. He never could understand the relationship between the two men.

"Charles Edward, are you listening again?" I said to catch his attention.

He moved away from the door and looked at me with sad eyes, "I don't know why Mr. Volturi has to be so mean to daddy."

I gave him a flip of my head so he would follow me into his sister's room so I could put the clothes down. I pulled him into my arms and said, "Honey, daddy and Aro love each other very much."

"Then why is he mean?" Charlie complained.

Allison came walking into the room and rolled her eyes at her sensitive brother. "If you don't like it, stop listening."

"I was waiting for my lesson," Charlie pointed out.

"Daddy will call you when he is ready," Allison said, refusing to accept her brother's excuse.

"Okay, stop arguing," I insisted, and began putting the clothes away.

I heard a noise and looked up to see Edward looking at me. "Is there a problem?" he asked.

In true Allison fashion she spoke up to answer instead of letting me. "Charlie was listening at the door again. He thinks Mr. Volturi is mean."

Edward glanced back down the hallway and then leaned in and whispered, "He is mean."

"You should fire him," Charlie said adamantly.

Edward laughed and came into the room fully and sat on the bed to talk to his son. "You know how mommy makes you brush your teeth and eat your vegetables because she loves you? Well, when Aro yells it is how I know he loves me."

I turned and put my hands on my hips. I didn't like Edward comparing my parenting to Aro's Italian temper. Edward saw me and pretended to whisper but spoke loud enough for me hear. "Daddy would never make you eat vegetables."

I shook my head and pointed my finger at him. "You just talked yourself into sleeping in the music room."

At that point our youngest daughter Claire came into the room and put up her hands for Edward to lift her. He pulled her onto his lap and her thumb when right into her mouth. Allison reached over and pulled it out. "Stop that, I told you I've seen you as a teenager and your teeth are sticking straight out."

"Allie, don't," I said. I knew how often she threatened her siblings with her powers. "We'll get her braces," I added, since I already knew she was going to need them.

I looked at Edward to find him staring at me. His expression made me smile. He looked…amazed. I knew that look because I had it often myself. I shuddered at the thought of marrying Jake and living without the kind of love Edward and I had.

"I love you," I mouthed to him, and he smiled at me.

"Can we get a sitter tonight?" he asked, sending the kids into rushed complaints.

My heart sank because I wouldn't be able to spend time alone with my husband. "I have an appointment tonight with Alice and Rose," I said sadly.

He set Claire down and walked over to pull me into his arms. "I'll wait up," he promised, and gave me a loving kiss. "Come on, Charlie, time for your lesson."

I watched them leave the room and loved how kind and gentle Edward was when teaching Charlie how to play. He didn't have nearly the amount of talent as his father, but he loved music anyway. I saw Allie staring at me with a confused expression. She was very in tuned with her gift but I tried not to let her focus on it too much. "Come on girls, let's make cookies," I said to move their thoughts away from me being gone most of the night.

I showed up at the address I was given and saw a house that looked normal in every way, but the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I looked at Rose and Alice and could see the tension in their faces. I had no idea what tonight was about but I knew something big was going on.

"Who are we meeting?" I asked, hoping my nerves didn't show through.

"Mr. and Mrs. White," Rosalie informed me. "They were referred to us by the Masens."

"Really?" I asked in surprise, since Elizabeth and Edward never mentioned anything about it to me.

Alice was the first to move toward the front door so Rose and I followed. We knocked and the door was answered by a woman with fire red hair. She gave the others a cursory glance but her eyes seemed to focus on me.

I looked around the house and couldn't see any family photos. I wanted to get a read on these people because they didn't seem like they would be friends of the Masens. Rosalie tensed and then looked right at the woman who introduced herself as Victoria. "You feel animosity toward Edward Masen, why?"

My eyes shot over to the woman quickly. "You were the housekeeper," I said, only knowing her through reading my father's essay and hearing Edward talk about her.

"I had nothing to do with that," she demanded. "I would never hurt the Masens."

I was completely open to her emotions and I could tell she was lying, but I wanted to know why she needed us here so I interrupted and said, "Why did you call us?"

"James and I have a daughter," she said as tears formed in her eyes. "We think something is wrong with her. She is like….possessed."

"Then you should have called a Priest," I said coldly.

"If you confirm she is possessed we will certainly do that," she said with desperation.

"Fine," Rose interjected. "Where is she?"

Victoria led us down a dark hallway and opened the door to a room that was locked. "Jesus," Alice muttered with disgust.

The room was dark and a man with long blonde hair pulled into a ponytail was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. "That is my husband, James," Victoria said, and pointed half heartedly at the man. She walked up to the bed where a girl about twelve lay with terrified eyes.

My heart ached for the girl and I sat on the mattress next to her and said as kindly as possible, "My name is Bella, who are you?"

Her eyes looked to her mother and then back at me. I could feel the emotion of fear coming off of her, not fear of m,e but of her mother. I took hold of her hand and smiled to help her relax. "Nobody is here to hurt you. Can you tell me your name?"

"Hailey," she said with a nervous tone.

"Hello, Hailey," I added tenderly. "How old are you?"

"Twelve," she confirmed.

"Can you tell me what is happening with you?"

Again I felt horrible fear role off of her. I looked at Rose and Alice and they both nodded at me. I couldn't sense anything else from the child. There was nothing evil or bad about her, only the fear which held her almost frozen.

I glanced around the room to see if she had any charms or amulets and I noticed the room was not what a child would have. It was too….barren of any evidence Hailey lived here. I suddenly stood and grabbed onto Alice. "This isn't real. They don't live here."

The bedroom door slammed shut and James stood in front of it with a gun in his shaky hands pointed right at us. The little girl sat up in bed and cried, "I'm so sorry. These are not even my parents."

Sensing their issue was with me; Rose and Alice moved in front of me and spoke forcefully. "We are not going to let you hurt Bella," Rose said.

"You don't get away with this, I already know it," Alice said to convince them.

James looked flustered and ready to forget the whole thing, but Victoria didn't waiver one bit. She only laughed at us and walked over to join her husband. I knew something horrible was going to happen and I couldn't chance one of my friends getting hurt. "You're problem is with me. Let the others go and I'll do whatever you want."

"So they can run right to the police?" Victoria laughed.

"Then I'll leave with you. They will have no idea where we are going," I begged.

Victoria stepped forward and grabbed my hand to remove my ring. "This is all I want; there is no need to drag this out."

I pulled my hand back and made a fist. I was not giving up my wedding ring to her. They planned on murdering us anyway, I wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of taking the ring while I was breathing. Victoria reached out and slapped my face. I cried out in pain and held my cheek as it throbbed.

"Stop," the little girl screamed as she cried.

"Shut up," Victoria yelled at the child. She turned back to me and spoke through clenched teeth, "Give me the ring or Hailey will be killed."

She found my one weakness. I knew they would kill her anyway, but I couldn't let it happen to her first. We moved to shield Hailey better but Victoria only laughed. "James, shoot her," she demanded.

I looked over to the see the man's eyes widen. He wasn't nearly as certain as Victoria so I tried to speak directly to him. "You don't need to do this. If you run now we'll never find you. If you hurt us our husbands will never stop hunting you."

"Don't listen to her," Victoria screamed.

"Let's just get out of here," James begged her.

"You are useless," she screamed at him. She walked over to the far side of the bed and pulled Hailey out by her hair. She stood with her hands on the child's neck and looked right at me. "Go stand against the wall with your backs to us."

"Take the child out of here," I begged, "Don't let her see this."

Victoria began tightening her hold around the girl's neck and we quickly moved to the wall. I continued talking trying desperately to get through to them. "When Felix died the Masens had to release everyone. They didn't know who to trust," I explained. I wanted her to see things differently, not like she was fired because they couldn't prove she was in on it.

"I did everything to protect Edward," she screamed at me. "Then he accused me of helping Felix. He lied and there wasn't any proof so Elizabeth should have believed me."

"You wanted the ring, and you just proved him right by coming after me for it. He was right and you know it," I yelled in anger.

"He ruined my life and he's going to suffer for it," she said in a hysterical tone.

I took the chance and turned slowly around to face them. I looked into James' eyes and said with conviction. "I will not let you shoot me in the back like a coward. If you are going to do this you are going to look into my eyes."

"Shoot her," Victoria screamed, causing Hailey to cry louder.

James raised the gun and let it settle right between my eyes. His hands grew more steady and I knew he found his courage somewhere deep within. I saw his fingers squeeze the trigger and the bullet left the gun in slow motion. It was spinning and cutting through the air as it headed toward me. Suddenly it began to fall apart like grains of sand until it all blew away as dust.

James looked at Victoria and they both looked back at me in fear. I didn't do it so I looked at Alice and Rose. They were just as stunned as I was. None of us possessed such a strong power with just our minds.

The door suddenly blew open and the form of a child stood in the doorway. Her eyes were closed but her hands were raised in front of her with fingers extended. She flicked her fingers and James along with Victoria flew across the room and smashed into the wall.

Alice ran to pick up the gun while I rushed over to my daughter. "Allison, honey, look at me, its mommy."

She finally opened her eyes and I could feel her concentration weaken. Her green eyes filled with tears and she threw her arms around my neck. Edward rushed inside the room with Emmett and several police officers. They contained the Whites as Edward pulled me into his arms with Allison between us.

I cried with relief and happiness, but also from the concern I had about my daughter's powers. None of us came anywhere close to what she could do and it frightened me for her safety. "I want to leave here, Edward. I want to go somewhere else to live," I begged.

He tightened his hold on me and nodded in agreement. We all knew Allison was going to need some help learning how to control her gift so we decided to move to Forks. My father could elicit the help of his family and our lives would be lived at a much slower pace. It was the perfect solution and Forks no longer seemed like a Podunk town to me anymore. It was safe and quiet, just what we needed.

The Whitlocks and McCartys followed us and made their homes in Forks also. Emmett was hired by my father and Jasper went to work at the small local hospital. Rose, Alice, and I opened a boutique. It turned out their real powers were in fashion.

Edward finally let Aro return to Italy for good. He had plenty of money and didn't want to travel anymore. He set up a business teaching piano lessons, even though his talent was way beyond what was needed in Forks. But he loved working with kids and never missed the life he used to live. I tried to give Allison a normal childhood. Whatever her road in life turned out to be, she would always be more grounded by taking the time to play.

I was standing in front of the full length mirror brushing my hair when Edward came into the room and began kissing my neck. I stared at his reflection as my body came alive. I saw him as an older man, still handsome but going grey. His head raised and he looked at me through the mirror. I could still see the love in his gaze even at such an old age. No matter what happened throughout the span of time I would always be with Edward. I knew it like I knew my own name.

"What do you see?" he asked me, returning to the handsome man of forty-one.

"You," I smiled, "Always a life with you."